Back in February 2016 I followed my heart and relocated to Reykjavik to join my Viking. A new city, a new adventure, so I decided to keep a video diary, recording and uploading a new vlog to my Youtube channel each week. In the last year I have made Reykjavik my home and consider myself very lucky to be surrounded by such dramatic and picturesque landscapes. So today I share a little of this city with you in my highlights and recommendations.
There are a few free walking tours in Reykjavik you can do, or you can just go off and do your own. Start at The Sun Voyager and walk along the coast to Harpa, then head towards the Parliament and its public square. If you’re hungry, why not try the local hot dog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur for a yummy hot dog, maybe a bowl of lobster soup at Sægreifinn or one of the trendy spots such as The Laundromat Cafe. Continue walking towards the pond lined with cute Icelandic houses, the very Scandinavian church Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík and the modern City Hall.
From here, cross Fríkirkjuvegur and walk up the side street (taking in the street art) until you arrive at the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church, inspired by flowing lava. You can buy a ticket to gain access to the top of the spire for a view across the city or drive up to the city’s water towers at Perlan for a free view. Walking around, you might spot some small statues and toy soldiers on top of street signs, so keep an eye out for them. Finally walk down the main street of Skólavörðustígur which joins the main shopping street of Laugavegur before you get back to Harpa.
The botanical gardens are a wonderful space near where we live. If the weather allows, you can spend a morning wandering the paths and heading towards the allotment where you’ll find a fantastic cafe where you can sip a coffee and nibble on a homemade treat in the beautiful greenhouse. You can also head to the nearby swimming pool at Laugardalslaug and experience the different hot pools here, including a salt water pool which has heated sea water.
Grótta lighthouse and hot pool
Ever fancied a stroll along a black sand beach? Ice cream in hand and feet in a natural hot tub – or all bundled up with the reward of a hot chocolate after?! Head to Grótta, an easy 10 minute drive along the coast from Reykjaviks Harbour and take in the view across to Esjan. If it’s sunny, why not grab an ice cream from Valdis in Grandi on your way there.
A short ferry ride from Reykjavik harbour is the island of Viðey (summer ferries leave daily from Skarfabakki, Harpa, and Aegisgardur pier and in winter ferry from Skarfabakki weekends only). The island was where the ‘father of Reykjavík’ Skuli Magnusson constructed his home and a church in the 12th Century and has archaeological remains from the early 10th Century. On this island is the ‘Imagine Peace’ tower, a beam of light which shines high into the nights sky from a wishing well bearing the words “imagine peace” in 24 languages. Designed by Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, it is lit annually between his birthday and his death: 9th Oct – 8th Dec.
Iceland has a little piece of my heart and in return she has given me dark, magical and snowy winters filled with breathtaking Northern Lights, and long, light summers with plenty of hours to explore. And we can’t forget about my Viking and our own Saga as we prepare to marry this summer.